Category Archives: Injection Molded Plastics

The Benefit of Using Recycled Resins   

As plastic products become more common throughout the world, we increasingly become more concerned about the effects it has on the environment. Many people call for waste control solutions, while others call for restrictions, reduction, and a push for strong recycling programs. Manufacturers are able to recycle plastic by shredding and reducing plastic products into pellets that can then be re-processed. These pellets are then re-molded into another useful product and provide value once again.

At DeKALB, recycling is exactly what we do – we process 100% recycled resins in many of our structural foam molded products to make sure old materials get a second life. Re-using plastic waste helps reduce our carbon footprint by keeping plastics out of landfills and creating products that can be used for another generation.

Cost Savings Opportunities

Using recycled resins can result in a significant price reduction in many products. Resin savings can be as much as 50% more compared to virgin resins, while some products can be made with up to 100% recycled material. DeKALB encourages our clients to consider the benefits of integrating recycled resins into their products when we first sit down to talk with them. We encourage the use of sustainable manufacturing solutions as it benefits both the customer and the environment.

The resin market can often fluctuate in price and product availability, especially during times of uncertainty. Many molding companies will lean more heavily on recycled materials when virgin resin costs increase dramatically or are not available. DeKALB consistently uses recycled resins to reduce customers’ daily costs, not just as an exception during unstable market times.

Where Our Recycled Resins Come From

DeKALB processes millions of pounds of recycled resin material each year in our structural foam molded products. Most recycled resins in DeKALB’s products are polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), although additional thermoplastic resins are recycled as well.

DeKALB purchases much of its recycled resin from recyclers or reclaimers who process the resins from post-consumer and post-industrial materials. These companies will process scraped products by sorting, cleaning, and grinding the material into pellets ready for molding new products.

DeKALB also directs scrap materials from our operation to be recycled rather than be sent to a landfill.  No matter if the recycled pellets come from home, the office, or a manufacturing facility—everyone benefits when plastics are re-used.

Choosing the Right Resin

With DeKALB’s wide selection of thermoplastics, we have the right material to suit the needs of your product’s specifications. Both Commodity and Engineered grade resins can be molded using recycled resins, and additives can also enhance product performance, strength, impact, or UV protection. Some resins and additives include:

  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polystyrene (PS)
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Nylon (PA)
  • Glass Fiber or Beads
  • UV Protection
  • Fillers / Reinforcements
  • Impact Modifiers
  • Rubber

DeKALB’s plastic parts, fillers, and reinforcements are guaranteed to make a strong and long-lasting manufactured product. We can mold almost any recycled thermoplastic resin, which helps keep more debris out of landfills and get us one step closer to a cleaner future.

Benefits of Using Recycled Resin

We help companies save money, and surpass the uncertainty in price changes and resin shortages, by utilizing recycled resin instead of virgin resin for plastic manufactured products.

Some of the main benefits DeKALB can offer our customers with recycled materials are:

  • Lower cost
  • Long life expectancy
  • Increased strength and durability
  • Lower cost for molding
  • Excellent substitute for other materials

Leaving a Greener Footprint

Pushing for cost savings and sustainable alternatives is what makes DeKALB stand out from the competition. Our thermoplastics are manufactured with 100% recycled material, and some resins can even be recycled multiple times, all depending on the demand of the product and its purpose. The green advantage is taking recycled material while considering quality specs and ensuring they still pass the standards of new virgin resin.

Maintaining excellence with reclaimed products helps clear old post-consumer and post-industrial parts from making their way into landfills. DeKALB has recycled over 20 million pounds of recycled product in a single year, as stated by the CEO, Rick Walters. That recycled product has helped keep our planet clean as well as help consumers with significant cost savings in the long run. Every client we work with drives our green initiative to help them find quality parts for half the cost. Recycling is simply the right thing to do!

The DeKALB Difference

For over 40 years, DeKALB Molded Plastics has earned its reputation in the plastics industry for best-in-class quality products and services. We are dedicated to providing the best solutions and customer care that make a difference. We are an ISO 001:2015 certified full-service provider offering customization and value-added options, from structural foam molding to gas assist molding services. Our highly skilled team will work alongside our clients to produce the best quality products every time.

Want to know how DeKALB is paving the way for a more sustainable future? Contact us today to learn more.  

Metal to Plastic Conversion

DeKALB Molded Plastics is a leader in the plastics industry with a specific focus on providing injection molded solutions for structural plastics. Our team has the advanced capability to offer metal to plastic conversion, which offers several advantages to OEMs looking for reduced costs and efficient manufacturing. This process has proven that large, plastic components can be manufactured to be just as durable and strong as their metal equivalents, which means significant advantages for our customers:

Reduced Costs of Final Products

  • Production of plastic parts is more consistent
  • Product weighs less and reduces shipping and operational costs
  • Less waste and more consistency of final products

Improved Manufacturing Process

  • High tensile strength with proper structural design
  • Reduction in part weight
  • More flexibility for design

Therefore, if you are looking to cut down on weight and cost, while never comprising the integrity of your product, our metal to plastic conversion specialty is worth investigating. We also offer engineering and design assistance, including program management and product development.

While there are many reasons why metal to plastic conversion might be beneficial to you, below are some answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Metal to Plastic Conversion Q & A:

Why is metal to plastic conversion beneficial?

Customers who have problems with their current metal products, such as inconsistent dimensions or increasing costs for metal often look to plastic conversion as an alternative solution.

What challenges does DeKALB face when using this manufacturing process?

The practicality of metal to plastic conversion has to be considered. Our team is great at communicating challenges and offering both material and design suggestions.

What opportunities are created by using this process? How many of DeKALB's customers either require and/or prefer metal to plastic conversion?

Specialty Material Handling market segment would provide the greatest opportunity for conversion of metal to plastic. Those converted products could include pallets, bins, totes, and carts.

What is a product that was made using the metal to plastic conversion process?

A customer was having issues with a heavy metal automotive seat pallet that was damaging production lines within their facility. They needed something durable yet non-abrasive and plastic conversion was a great alternative.

DeKALB Molded Plastics has completed metal to plastic conversion for a wide array of industries. Communicate directly with our engineering team today to discover the possibility of transforming your metal products to plastic.

What is Foam Injection Molding?

Transcript: Foam injection molding is a process in which we take thermoplastic material and induce a colorant as well as a blowing agent in there to expand the material out. What we do is we bring in the material in from a hopper or a gondola, come into a process in which we blend it with that colorant and with that blowing agent into a hopper feeder. It then goes into a screw that is then fed the material into an accumulator. From that accumulator, then feeds into our injection process. The accumulator then feeds in through injection process into an aluminum mold. That’s the nice thing about our process is that we use less expensive molds. We don’t use steel ones. We use aluminum ones. By having that it’s a major advantage. The material is then through multiple ports injected into usually a single cavity tool. We may put more than one cavity into a press, but it’s multiple ports coming into one cavity.

What are Characteristics of Gas Assist Molded Parts?

Transcription: A gas assisted injection molded part is going to have a little more of a look like a high pressure injection molded product. There won’t be a lot of swirls. It’ll be more of a solid look, but still, won’t be a perfect class A surface. Adequate for most applications, it still is a very structural product. It has the gas channels but will look a lot like injection molding.

What is structural foam molding?

Transcript:

Structural foam molding is a process in which we use similar thermoplastics but you use blowing agents and you use colorants, and the blowing agents allow you to expand the material into the mold at a much lower pressure than you would on a high injection pressure system. What that does that gives you very good structural strength, it gives you the ability to save between 15-20% of your thermoplastic materials, it gives you the ability to make larger parts of that structural condition that you may not be able to do within a high pressure injection molding process.

Surviving the Recession

DeKALB Molded Plastics celebrated their 30th Anniversary of business in the Structural Plastics industry in 2009. Much has changed over those 30 years — from the structural foam products they first produced to the techniques they now employ to run the business. From products such as the first swimming pool panel, to the computer housings, and now on to the complex medical cabinetry—DeKALB has maintained their primary focus of “providing customer satisfaction that is unequaled in the Structural Plastics Industry”. Over the past 30 years, however, more has changed than just a few machines and the products DeKALB creates. DeKALB has become an ever-changing company in the midst of economic crises, and meeting the needs of its customers.

The president of the company, Rick Walters, said that DeKALB Molded Plastics has been through downturns in the economy before and they have learned how to manage through the tough times. They “know how to plan when business gets tight”, but this time they were going to have to “anticipate even less” in order to stay ahead of the recession curve. To ensure survival for both DeKALB and their customers, lower costs and higher value of services had to be made available.

Recognizing that this recession was going to touch virtually all companies, DeKALB knew their customers would be implementing some of the same financial strategies they would be forced to consider. Cutting inventories, staff, and general expenses would be the norm. But rather than “hunker down”, DeKALB chose to be proactive. They knew they would have to provide options and solutions to help their customers weather the storm. They chose to take customer service to a new level.

DeKALB decided to be aggressive, to invest and grow; positioning to support their valued customers and to prepare for the return of the better economy. First, a new Sales Team was established. Amy Aleshire, Sales Administrator, was promoted to oversee all existing accounts. She works closely to better understand each customer’s needs, for today and the future. A new position was added to focus on new business opportunities. Darryl Warren, New Business Development Lead, was hired. His mission is to find new and non-traditional applications for the future. A marketing initiative was launched. SMP of Milwaukee, led by Teresa Schell, is helping share the DeKALB message with those looking for a plastics solution partner.

Understanding that to meet their customer’s needs DeKALB had to be better every day, they partnered with Harbour Results Inc. to lead and train them in Lean Continuous Improvement techniques. At DeKALB, they are learning how to cut back on all forms of waste, make their products more environmentally friendly, and shift their overall focus even more towards serving their customers. Over the next few years, DeKALB will expand further into their local and global communities, to help people learn that plastics can be a safe and efficient product for thousands of different uses.